The Virtualization Practice

VMware has updated the vRAM pricing for vSphere 5 to address certain customer issues, and deserves a great deal of credit for acting this quickly and decisively to the feedback that was generated by the initial announcement. However, even with the new vSphere 5 vRAM pricing the question is now raised as to whether competing and less expensive virtualization platforms are acceptable for some entire companies, and some use cases within what used to be 100% VMware shops. VMware has created an opening for Microsoft, Citrix, and Red Hat. As this sorts itself out, the virtualization platform landscape will change – resulting in a minimum in a new focus on tools to manage multiple virtualization platforms.

At the NE VMUG, while walking the floor I saw a new virtualization backup player, perhaps the first generic Replication Receiver Cloud: TwinStrata. And information gained while not at the NE VMUG. There is also a new virtualization backup player just for Hyper-V: Altaro. As well as a new release of Quest vRangerPro. The Virtualization Backup market is a very dynamic market with new ideas, technologies, and concepts being put into the market at every turn. In many ways, the market leaders are not the bigger companies but the smaller and fast growing companies. In the past, it was about features associated with pure backup, but now it is about features and fast disaster recovery and recovery testing.

VMware has made significant changes to the recently announced vRAM based pricing. The single most significant change is that potential barriers to the virtualization of memory intensive business critical applications have been eliminated by ensuring that no application no matter how big can cause a charge of more than 96GB to be levied against the pool of available vRAM.

One of the reduced criticisms of View, and one of the most frequent weapons used against it, has been the relatively poor performance characteristics of PCoIP across high latency low bandwidth WAN connections. Until today, VMware has been following the standard line of denying there is a problem until you are able to solve it. Now, solution in hand Vittorio Viarengo, VMware’s head of all things desktop (officially Vice President, End User Computing)is willing to share Gartner’s perspective on View’s strengths and weaknesses.

Performance Management for Desktop Virtualization (VDI) and Presentation Virtualization (SBC)

Ovum’s research found that desktop virtualization currently represents approximately 15% of the business PC market. However, this figure is dominated by the Presentation Virtualization model (12%), typically used in call datacenter-type environments, and has been for the last 10 years. If PV/terminal services are excluded, the next generation of solutions aimed at CIOs, from the likes of Citrix, Quest and VMware, hold less then 3% of the market, showing that many CIOs are holding back from taking the plunge.

I was reading through a recent article about the new Java 7 release, which contradicts Oracle’s current support statement with respect to licensing. The License from Oracle exclusively states Java 7 is only supported on those hypervisors Oracle currently supports: Oracle VM, VirtualBox, Solaris Containers, and Solaris LDOMs except where noted. That last phrase is rather tricky, so where do we find such notes. Is the noted the support document stating that they support Oracle products within a VMware VM? Or is it somewhere else in the license? This leaves out all major hypervisors: Citrix, VMware, and Microsoft. If you cannot find a note saying things are supported, somewhere.

This implies quite a bit for the future of Java support within most PaaS environments being built today. In essence, they cannot upgrade to Java 7. Which means they may fall behind. This would impact OpenShift, Amazon, Google, CloudFoundry, SalesForce, and others.

With the announcement of vSphere 5.0, VMware has kept its word on only having VMware ESXi for the physical host operating system. This is the first release of vSphere with just VMware ESXi as an option. I must admit that I was not a big fan of the concept when it was introduced as an option in the 3.x days. I had a very slick automated process in place that was one of my pride and joys at the moment and VMware ESXi was just lagging behind in functionality compared to what I was able to do with VMware ESX. My attitude started to change with the release of VMware ESX 4.1 as presented in an earlier post and now that vSphere 5.0 is announced I must admit that I think VMware has gone about this process of a cutover to ESXi quite well and the functionality that is presented in this release is quite impressive.

Lion updates session sharing feature in Lion – does this mean that native mac terminal services can push out mac os to thin clients. Given the license changes, there may well be over 200 features in the new OS, but Lion is not the release to make Apple a desktop OS that is lord of the jungle of corporate desktop solutions.

VMware has done the right thing by taking care of their enterprise customers and making sure that they know that they can purchase vSphere 5 licenses under the terms of their existing ELA’s. The vast majority of smaller customers who run a small number of purchased applications are unlikely to be impacted by the new vRAM licensing, as their is probably plenty of vRAM headroom to take care of their needs. The issue is with customers who are not quite large enough to have an ELA, and who have sophisticated mixes of purchased and internally developed applications – and who are trying to push the density envelope in order to maximize their return from their investment in VMware. This customers are going to have to look at the new licensing in the above terms and make their own decisions.